More Airlines Switching to Thinner Carbon Fiber Seats
New, lighter and thinner carbon fiber seats allow airlines to squeeze more people onto flights, and several airlines have been retrofitting their cabins with these carbon fiber seats. The trend of thinner, lighter seats is spreading to smaller aircraft as well. With a weight savings of up to 20 lbs. per seat, small airlines like Allegiant are ditching aircraft galleys and the old, heavy seats in favor of these ultra-slim-line seats. An older aircraft that previously carried 150 passengers can now carry 166.
(From the Time Magazine article by Bill Saporito)
According to B/E Aerospace, using carbon fiber in place of metal can take about 10 lbs. out of a coach seat and allow more contouring and comfort. Not only is the resulting seat and seat back thinner, but less padding is required because the frame isn’t as hard.
‘The other thing that resonates with people when you start to slim down: you can increase the living space. The passenger has a perceptible difference,” says Tom Plant, the vice president and general manager of seating products for B/E Aerospace. Part of that perception comes from the fact that you are sitting farther back in the chair, and some airlines have changed the seat height slightly.
“We feel that these seats are ergonomic and more comfortable,” says Southwest Airlines spokesman Paul Flanagan. But in Southwest’s typically candid style he points out, “It’s basically a wash from a legroom standpoint.” Customers may not care, given that the added seats across the industry mean that you have a greater chance of sitting with loved ones. As a family, you’ll be closer. In some cases, much closer.
The lighter carbon fiber seats also allow for greater fuel economy per passenger, lowering the airlines’ costs.
(Article source: Time Magazine, October 22, 2012, By Bill Saporito, with Illustration by Heather Jones for Time Magazine)